Angel-A

Every once in a while I find myself just struggling to create. And I don’t mean that I have some kind of block. What I mean is that there seem to be a ridiculous number of obstacles in my way. I spend more time and energy trying to create situations when I can create my art rather than actually doing it. I find myself exhausted so much of the time and have very little or nothing to show for it.

It’s like a drought.

I’m doing the raindance like crazy. Out there working it and working it. Putting so much time and commitment into it that when a few months go by and I still have nothing to show for it, it’s… well… disheartening.

So I keep fighting and fighting.

But there comes a point when I just throw up my hands and say, OK, I’m going to just walk away for a while. It’s just a battle I’m tired of fighting.

It shouldn’t be this hard.

I’m definitely in one of those throw up my hands places now. I feel like a painter without paint. A sculptor without stone.

I’m sitting in a movie theatre as I write this waiting for the movie to start. In a few minutes I’ll be watching a film by Luc Besson called Angel-A. He says it’s his last film. Maybe he’s gotten tired of fighting the system too. It’s set in Paris and he photographed it in beautiful black and white. I’m hoping to walk out with at least some inspiration. Something hopeful.

I’m a little concerned that I’m going to walk out of the theatre sad. That’s what I don’t need right now. Paris is a beautiful city. But sometimes it can have a strange effect on me. Hard to explain. But sometimes I feel a sense of loss when I’m reminded of the parisien streets and places I’ve been there. Like I said. Hard to explain.

The story I’m about to see is about a man who has given up. He feels trapped and doesn’t know what to do.

This will be interesting to see how it affects me.

We’ll see.

____________

Well it was a great film, as I thought it would be. Now I’m typing on my roof with a bottle of wine next to me.

Paris is such a beautiful city on film. So interesting to see all the streets and bridges and monuments that have become so familiar to me over the years. Especially in the beautiful black and white that Besson’s director of photography Thierry Abogast has captured.

Of course that is after I had to leave the theater to tell the manager to have someone check the focus on the projector. It’s amazing how many times I have to do that. I mean it wasn’t even close. And with a movie with subtitles, it gets annoying very quickly. Pretty sloppy at Pipers Alley Theaters in Chicago.

But anyway, it was a strange experience for me to see that particular film today. I was pretty much the only one in the theater tonight. Maybe one or two people behind me. So I knew it was going to feel like a very personal experience. And it was.

A few times I really felt like the film was speaking to me directly. Not in the usual way that you identify with characters. No, this was something more this time.

There is a scene with André, the main character, looking in a mirror. He’s being coached to find himself by AngelA, a beautiful mysterious chain smoking woman who suddenly appears to him and is guiding him through about 24 hours of his life. And it was the strangest sensation I was having while watching it.

Je t’aime. Je t’aime.

It was like Besson was telling me something I struggle with all the time.

So I’m sitting her tonight trying to soak it all in. How I feel about so much.

I know that struggles are part of the artistic process. It’s a constant battle. But it makes me weary sometimes. I wish I could put my full energy into making my art instead of being so exhausted by the time I get there that I have little left to give to create it.

It’s interesting. When I walk the streets of Paris there is a lot of artistic inspiration, but I also feel the pain of the ghosts of artists that have struggled before me. A friend of mine once told me of a conversation she was having with a mutual friend of ours, “You know, maybe Billy needs the pain to create what he does.” And maybe I do. Maybe that’s why my art seems to speak to so many people the way it speaks to me.

I guess I’m not alone even though in times like this I really feel like I am.

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